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The Russians are Apparently Not Idiots

[ 7 ] July 11, 2008 |

I hate to show weakness in front of the Russians, but it’s hard to argue with this:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the results of Iran’s missile tests prove that US plans for a defence shield in Europe are unnecessary. Mr Lavrov said the tests confirmed Tehran had missiles with a limited range of up to 2,000km (1,240 miles)…

Repeated assurances from senior figures in Washington have failed to convince Moscow that the proposed shield represents no danger to Russia. Mr Lavrov told reporters on Friday the tests showed that “a missile defence shield with these parameters is not needed to monitor or react to such threats”. He said Moscow was convinced that what he called the imagined nature of the Iranian missile threat was a pretext for the missile shield. “We believe that any issue related to Iran should be resolved through negotiation, through political-diplomatic means… and not through threats,” he said.

Yep.

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Clinton’s FISA Vote

[ 22 ] July 11, 2008 |

There seems to be some debate about whether Clinton’s laudable vote against the FISA bill was politically motivated or not. Obviously, this is unknowable, although I suspect that she would have voted differently had she won the nomination. Josh Patashnik, however, makes the more important point: it doesn’t matter. Trying to figure out whether Clinton’s FISA vote was sincere or not is as irrelevant as figuring out what John McCain really thinks about abortion rights. Responding strategically within a given environment is what politicians do. And if Clinton responds to the fact that her political power base will be in the Senate rather than the White House to be a leader in checking the growth in executive power, great. It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of member of Congress who have remained supine against assertions of executive power.

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The Constitution Matters Until it Doesn’t

[ 0 ] July 11, 2008 |

Senator John McCain might not actually be technically eligible to be President.

But it’s only a little thing called the Constitution. Which is only, it seems, important to the GOP when you can use it as a sword to restrict people’s rights or expand those of corporations.

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A Thousand Times Yes

[ 19 ] July 11, 2008 |

I can’t agree with this strongly enough:

I keep hearing that Nutsgate is a “Sister Souljah moment” for Obama. Frankly, it’s annoying me. First – it’s not a Sister Souljah moment at all. Second – I’m sick of that term. It’s time to retire the Sister Souljah label altogether. It’s inaccurate, and even borderline racist.

Right. How often is the object of a “Sister Souljah” moment a powerful white person? And are Republicans ever required to have “Siser Souljah” moments?

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Fanfare For the Common Woman

[ 15 ] July 11, 2008 |

Via Jesse Auguste, the late Clinton campaign’s turn to reactionary populism has produced a hilarious denouement courtesy of inevitably moronic PUMAs. A Clinton fundraiser claims on (natch) Fox News:

This is a hard decision for me personally because, frankly, I don’t like [Obama]. I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.

The fundraiser’s identity?

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild

OK, well maybe she’s a black sheep Rothschild down on her luck?

Sitting down with her on a recent afternoon in the new pad–an 18th-floor duplex in River House that was previously owned by Carter Burden and Libet Johnson–it’s hard to begrudge her the excess of good fortune, thanks to her affability and occasional self-deprecations. (The Chateau Lafitte she pours–“the family wine,” as she calls it–and the heaping bowl of beluga don’t hurt, either.)

Jeez, and I thought turning Crown Royal into an uber-populist beverage was bad…anyway, if McCain starts serving Waygu beef and truffles with Cheval Blanc on the Straight Talk Express I’m sure that will turn into a populist meal too. Maybe Lady Lynn can whip something up for him…

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Where Are All The Women Bloggers?

[ 22 ] July 11, 2008 |

Here, for instance.

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Back

[ 11 ] July 10, 2008 |

With my vacation to the Midwest at last complete, it’s time to face the immense despair that usually accompanies my return home. For starters, I’m furious that Jesse Helms decided to surrender the carbon while I was nowhere near a computer. I neglected to include Helms in the erstwhile Worst American Birthday series; he certainly deserved the dishonor, if for no other reason than because he seeped from the womb on the very day that Charles Strite of Stillwater, Minnesota, received a patent for his pop-up electric toaster.

If I actually believed in hell, I’d envy the spit-jack who earned the duty of gently turning Helms’ carcass for eternity.

Meantime, I’ll have to content myself with mildly admiring this guy:

L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he’d ever had rather than lower a flag this week to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or N.C. flags at half staff Monday as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made that only an idiot would allow the mouldering remains of Jesse Helms to force him into an unplanned, early retirement. But since I don’t place much value on raising or lowering the flag on anyone’s behalf, that’s to be expected. Flying it half-mast and upside-down might have been a decent compromise, though.

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Are You Tough Enough?

[ 32 ] July 10, 2008 |

No. (I suppose this could work with other entries from the Maurice Starr oeuvre: “Step 2! There’s so much we can do! To capitulate to Bush and expand arbitrary executive power!”)

See Greenwald, CHS, and the ACLU. And all due credit to Clinton.

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Just Say No To Crack

[ 43 ] July 10, 2008 |

In light of Flint’s attempt –and I mean, you can understand the priority, what with all of the city’s economic and serious quality-of-life problems a thing of the past and — to make particular diversion from white-bourgeois dress a criminal offense, I am immediately reminded of Holbo’s legendary essay on David Frum:

Even if you are the sort of person who feels deeply offended by funny, ethnic clothes (we’re off the deep end) – even if you think it is anything like your business to dictate fashion sense to everyone around you (we’re so off the deep end) – how could you possibly think it was so important as all that? And yet immediately we are off and running about after the bourgeois virtues, all dying out: thrift, diligence, prudence, sobriety, fidelity, and orderliness. I won’’t bother to quote. Why can I not exhibit all these virtues beneath and/or behind a beard, kente cloth and/or keffiyeh? Frum seems to find it too obvious to bear arguing that the trick is impossible. (Yet he can’’t actually think that.) Does Frum seriously believe there are no shrewd, sober businessmen in those parts of the world where businessmen wear beards and keffiyehs and kente cloths? (Obviously he doesn’’t. That’’s crazy.) So what does he think? I think he just has a powerful feeling that: things ought to be a certain way. And if they are that way, everything will be all right.

Bearded Guy: I like my beard.

Frum: You should shave it.

BG: Why?

Frum: Because it should have been the case that you were too afraid to grow it.

BG: But I wasn’’t.

Frum: But you should have been.

BG: Why?

Frum: Because you are wrecking the culture.

BG: Why?

Frum: Because the culture will decay and then the economy will fall apart and we’’ll all be poor.

BG: Because of my beard?

Frum: Just think about it. Our economy depends on a healthy culture.

BG: But you don’’t even care about the economy. You said you don’’t.

Frum: I wish you hadn’’t mentioned that.

BG: But I did.

Frum: Look, if you shave the beard, everything will be better.

BG: You’’re a moonbat.

Frum: It’’s all related to foreign policy and wheelchair access in public school, in ways that would take a long time to explain.

BG: Get away from me!

Frum: Look. Just shave your beard!

Given that the humidity has been sufficiently high and consistent to warp my floorboards, I’m just happy that Althouse left town before she could get an anti-shorts ordinance rammed through the city council…

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A Test

[ 11 ] July 10, 2008 |

If ads prominently featuring McCain declaring that Social Security is a “disgrace” aren’t plastered over the airwaves — with special emphasis on Florida and Pennsylvania — the Democrats genuinely deserve to lose.

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"Maureen Goes To Fantasy Camp? Her Whole Life Is A Fantasy Camp."

[ 9 ] July 10, 2008 |

Shorter Verbatim MoDo: “Fictionalizing historical figures is fine. Fantasies about public figures are inevitable.”

Unlike (it seems) Somerby, I don’t see the slightest problem with Sittenfeld using Laura Bush to write a roman a clef. I can’t say it sounds especially promising, but the idea will rise and fall with the quality of the work. Fiction writers aren’t under any obligation to stick to facts about historical figures.

When fantasy narratives become the basis for large numbers of columns on the nation’s most prominent op-ed pages, however, and the writers who push these fantasy narratives with disastrous consequences continue forever in their sinecures, that’s a rather different matter.

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Holy Land Trivia of the Day

[ 55 ] July 10, 2008 |


What’s wrong with this sandwich?

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